Dobutamine stress echocardiography for cardiac risk assessment before aortic surgery

J Vasc Surg. 1993 Dec;18(6):905-11; discussion 912-3.


Purpose: This study evaluates dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE) for perioperative cardiac risk assessment with elective aortic surgery.

Methods: Dobutamine stress echocardiography was used to evaluate 81 patients before infrarenal aortic surgery. Patients were placed into three groups. Group I (n = 31) had normal DSEs. Group II (n = 25) had resting wall motion abnormalities without dobutamine-induced changes of ischemia. Group III (n = 25) had evidence of dobutamine-induced ischemia. Patient analysis revealed that of 46 patients with clinical indicators of coronary artery disease (CAD), only 23 had DSEs with inducible ischemia. Two of 35 patients without clinical indicators of CAD had DSEs with inducible ischemia.

Results: The 56 patients in group I and II underwent aortic reconstruction without cardiac complications or death. Of the 25 patients in group III, surgery was deferred in five (two patients with claudication and three with aneurysms < or = 5 cm), and four underwent coronary artery bypass grafting. Outcome after coronary artery bypass grafting included one death from stroke, one aneurysm rupture, and two uncomplicated aortic reconstructions. The remaining 16 patients in group III underwent aortic surgery, with three postoperative myocardial infarctions (MI) and no deaths.

Conclusions: Using DSE for preoperative assessment of cardiac risk allowed us to operate on 74 of 81 patients being considered for elective aortic reconstruction, with no operative deaths and a 4.1% rate of perioperative MI. Dobutamine stress echocardiography has the ability to identify patients with asymptomatic stress-induced ischemic myocardium and its increased risk for perioperative MI (p < 0.001). Equally important, for patients with clinical indicators of CAD but without DSE-inducible ischemia, no further cardiac evaluation is necessary.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Aorta, Abdominal / surgery*
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / mortality
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Disease / therapy
  • Dobutamine / administration & dosage*
  • Echocardiography* / methods
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / chemically induced
  • Myocardial Ischemia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / therapy
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Dobutamine